So, coffee in hand… I like my men to be ‘ordinary’. Not camp, not ripped, not even alpha males; just ordinary blokes trying to deal with situations in their lives. Someone once described my stories as soap operas. I was offended for a brief moment until I realized that is how I see their lives. My men are like all of us; looking for love in a world that can seem very lonely at times.
This is where we find my hero, Phil in The Lord’s Tale. All around him his brother and sister are getting married, his friends are finding love and yet he is all alone. Of course, none of us likes it pointed out to us when we’re suffering from a touch of the green-eyed monster. And who is so quick to point out our failings? Our older siblings, of course. I'm the youngest of seven. Believe me, I could write a thesis on this very subject.
Author Name: Sue Brown
Book Title: The Lord’s Tale #3 in The Fitzwarren Inheritance
Genre: M/M contemporary
Purchase URL: https://spsilverpublishing.com/product_book_info/new-release-c-1/the-lord-s-tale-p-332
Blurb: Surrounded by the tragedy of his family's history, the last thing Phil expects is to be picked up by a gorgeous guy twenty feet up a climbing wall. What scares him even more is the way Lee fits into his life, the final piece to break the Fitzwarren curse.
Excerpt: From a book written in 1899
--The History of Steeple Westford by the Rev. Horace Simpkins--
So in the autumn of the year 1644, Jonathan Curtess cursed Belvedere Fitzwarren, saying, "I curse you and your children's children, that you shall all live out your allotted years, and that those years shall be filled with grief and loss and betrayal, even as you have betrayed and bereaved me."
Phil could hear the rain beating down on the church roof as he waited for the bride to arrive. Inside the small church, the atmosphere was slightly damp and clammy as guests found somewhere to store their sopping umbrellas and attempted to brush raindrops off their finery. It was typical of the Fitzwarren luck that after weeks of fine weather there was torrential rain on his sister's wedding day.
He looked over at Will, the groom, standing alone in the front row. Psycho soldier hadn't bothered to make an appearance as his best man then. Despite the way Phil's friend Sean and Will stood up for the man, there was something about Daniel that Phil didn't like. He was unpredictable, and the fact he was tied in with this curse just made him even more dangerous in Phil's opinion, especially walking around with a knife tucked under his clothing. Why the hell Sean was bumping uglies with the man, Phil had no idea. The groom looked kind of down though. Daniel was Will's best friend, and it was natural he would want Daniel beside him on his special day.
His thoughts turned to his young nephew, fighting for his life in hospital. Each day was a roller-coaster ride for the premature baby, but the young heir to the Fitzwarrens clung on tenaciously. His mum, still recovering from her head injury and the shock of the premature birth, sat by his incubator. Charlie and Carol had both insisted that the wedding go ahead as planned, and Charlie was there, doing his best to wear a smile for his sister's wedding.
The doors to the church opened, and everyone turned to catch their first glimpse of the bride, only to discover Daniel limping down the aisle. Phil sighed as he saw the matching grins of Will and Sean. Who was he to argue with his best friend and his future brother-in-law? He'd be keeping an eye on that knife, though.
The doors opened again, and his sister was there, looking stunning in her wedding dress of ivory and crimson, the silk skirt pooling gracefully to the stone floor of the church. She paused in the doorway as her bridesmaids arranged themselves behind her. Somehow she had escaped looking like a drowned rat; her hair was swept up into chignon and the crimson roses in her hair matched the ones in her bouquet, the blooms from a corner of the castle grounds.
As Diana reached the altar, Will smiled down at her and took her hand. The love on their faces took Phil's breath away, and he was swept with a wave of happiness and envy for his big sister. As the elderly vicar conducted the service, the noise of the rain thrumming down on the roof abated, and soon the wedding party emerged from the church to blink as the late afternoon sunshine bathed the church grounds.
* * * *
Phil held two pints up high as he negotiated the crowd in the bar of the Red Lion. He handed one over to his brother, Charlie, who took the full glass gratefully.
"God, I'm glad that's over," Charlie said, wiping his top lip.
"Hell yes," Phil agreed, loosening his tie. "Do you think we can get out of this get-up now?" He waved vaguely at their suits.
"Probably not," Charlie told him. "Is Di out of her meringue yet?"
Phil peered around the bar to where the bride and groom were sitting, Di's feet in Will's lap. "Not yet, but her shoes are off. Isn't that enough?"
Charlie just gave him a look, and Phil sighed. There wasn't a hope in hell Diana would agree to them losing the monkey suits. The couple hadn't had enough money for a formal "do", but she was going to make the men suffer as long as she could. He smiled as he thought of his tomboy sister, dressed like a lady for the whole day.
"Anyway, I promised Carol I'd come in the suit," Charlie said, pulling a face. "She wanted to feel part of the proceedings even if she couldn't be here."
"You'd better stop knocking that back then," Phil said, indicating the pint of beer that Charlie was already half-way through.
Charlie held up his glass, regarding the dark amber liquid mournfully. "Doesn't seem right somehow. I can't remember the last time I stayed sober at a wedding." He paused for a minute. "I can't remember the last time I went to a wedding."
"Yours probably. Just be thankful you don't have to make a speech, big brother." Phil grinned at the shudder that ran though his painfully shy older brother at the thought of trying to speak in public, even in front of friends and family. There really wasn't anyone here that he didn't know. Di, like her brothers, tended to socialise in the village.
"I told Di that if she wanted speeches she could make you do it. She said if there was anything to say, she could say it herself."
Phil laughed, the laughter tailing off as he caught sight of Daniel and Sean vanishing into the snug with that psychic and his boyfriend. There was something going on there. Those four were getting very cosy all of a sudden. Charlie followed his gaze.
"I wonder what that's all about," his brother mused.
"I have no idea. Don't you think since Mark came on the scene our little curse has got a lot more crowded?" Phil asked, aware he sounded waspish.
Waving at the barman for another round, Charlie looked at him. "Another?" At Phil's nod, he held up two fingers and then said, "What do you mean?"
Phil waited until they both had drinks before he carried on. "Well, one minute it's just the Fitzwarrens' curse, and the three of us knowing everything is going to go tits up, and the next some stranger waltzes in claiming to be a psychic and a descendent of Curtesses, saying he's broken the first part of the curse. Then Psycho gets pally with Sean, and the next thing we know another bit of the story is slotting into place."
There was such a long pause before Charlie answered that Phil looked up. "What bothers you most? Mark's revelations or Sean and Daniel hooking up?"
"You think I'm jealous?" Phil asked incredulously.
"You're not? Just a little? Sean has been your best friend for years, and now that he's hooked up with Daniel, he hasn't been around as much."
Damn, his brother was too shrewd.